The TOS Project continues with the first six Star Trek movies, which, in the words of Philip J. Fry, “average out to be pretty okay.” Posts for the Star Trek films will be written live-blog style, with timestamps from Netflix streaming.
Before watching: Yay! I love this movie! Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home just hits all the right buttons for me – time travel, animals, and silly jokes. Regularly, when my work computer misbehaves, I pick up the mouse and say, “Hello computer!” Maybe that’s another reason I like this one so much – characters other than Kirk and Spock actually have something to do! Also – wessels. (And I’m using animated gifs, if I can, because they’re more fun.)
0:00 – I totally forgot that this movie was dedicated to the Challenger mission. Now I have warm fuzzies and the awesome hasn’t event started.
0:02 – Saavik is back again? How come I don’t remember her in this movie?
0:04 – Are Kirk and the gang actually be tried for their prior actions? Why don’t I remember this part either? (Maybe I skipped it to get to the whales?)
0:07 – Vulcan exile? Dude, I have the worst memory.
0:13 – That Bird of Prey kind of looks like it’s made of Lego.
0:15 – Oh, so Saavik’s only in this movie for 15 minutes. That explains it.
0:16 – I’m with McCoy on this one. Not sure I would want someone until-very-recently deceased at the science station.
0:19 – McCoy is really the best at sass.
0:20 – I really love some of these background aliens. I wish we had more of them with larger roles.
0:22 – This probe is incredibly malicious, but unintentionally?
0:24 – Have whales really been extinct for so long that no one recognizes whale songs? Not even the computer? It’s not like we don’t have tons of recordings. It’s just Spock, who is not even from Earth.
0:26 – Let’s solve out problem with time travel! Best. Solution. Ever.
0:30 – Apparently, I usually start watching this movie around 30 minutes in…
0:31 – I don’t know how sling-shotting around the sun will send you back in time, but I don’t care. Especially because of how trippy this sequence is.
0:33 – It’s funny/sad that they use the “pollution content” of the atmosphere to determine when in time they’ve arrived, rather than the relative positions of the stars and planets, which would give them a far more accurate date and time.
0:34 – Very convenient that they stole and enemy ship with a cloaking device before going back in time…
0:36 – Let’s steal nuclear devices from the military! Brilliant!
0:37 – Spock: Master of Disguise.
0:39 – That landing is such a great moment. And the following scenes on the streets. Love.
0:43 – A Russian asking about “nuclear wessels” at a naval base in the mid-1980s. Brilliant.
0:44 – I have fantasies about doing what Spock just did on public transportation.
0:47 – As Gillian talks about how whales are endangered, I realize that I never before considered the effects of suddenly dropping 2 whales into an ocean where they haven’t existed for a couple hundred years. The entire ecosystem could have changed due to their absence. How can the crew even be sure they’ll survive? I guess they don’t really care, as long as the whales get rid of that probe.
0:50 – I love Shatner/Kirk’s over-the-top reaction to Spock with the whales (it reminds me of my dad). Also, Spock’s very calm addition of “the hell” to every sentence.
0:56 – “I have a photographic memory. I see words.” Whaaaat?
0:59 – McCoy and Scotty are absolutely ridiculous manipulating Plexicorp.
1:00 – Does Scotty really think nothing of giving 1986 advanced manufacturing techniques? Also, he did all that with hunt-and-peck typing.
1:03 – “How do we know he didn’t invent the thing?” Um, because that would be a paradox?
1:06 – Pocket pager. Not even “cell phone.”
1:07 – “No. I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.” One of the best movie lines ever.
1:14 – And now they have captured a Russian on a naval vessel in 1986. And he’s unintentionally sassing the security officers.
1:19 – This cloak is really impractical, but pretty funny.
1:23 – Okay, I have to pause: This scene with McCoy in the hospital is really important to me. My dad has chronic nephrotic syndrome. Kidney disease. He was fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant several years ago, and never had to go on dialysis like the woman in this scene. But the “chronic” part means that eventually the disease starts attacking the new kidney anyway. Anti-rejection drugs and constant monitoring of kidney function are just routine for him. And there are plenty of people who haven’t received a transplant or are not eligible that go for dialysis 3 or more times a week, and stay on it for the rest of their lives. McCoy’s utter disgust at something as common and currently necessary as dialysis is supposed to be funny, but for me it’s a little melancholy, and then he just gives her a pill to fix her kidney failure. A pre-packaged pill! That gives me such hope for the future of medicine and excitement about what me may be able to achieve in time. Completely eliminating dialysis? Transplants? That would be amazing. And this scene is a perfect example of why I love Star Trek. Now I’m going to go back and watch it again.
1:27 – In the middle of this farcical escape from the hospital is that old lady, absolutely beaming, and telling everyone, “The doctor gave me a pill and I grew a new kidney!” You can hear the stunned doctors in the background saying, “Fully functional?!” I cry tears of joy during this ridiculousness for that old lady.
1:32 – This whaling scene is really upsetting. It’s bad enough that they showed that footage at the Cetacean Institute.
1:33 – That’s right, whaling jerks. Turn and run.
1:34 – Wouldn’t the additional 400 tons (or whatever) tax the engines (and structural integrity of the ship) while still in Earth’s atmosphere?
1:36 – “When man was killing these creatures, he was destroying his own future.” A little heavy handed, even if I do agree with it.
1:37 – And Kirk thinks nothing of taking Gillian out of time. (No wonder the Temporal Investigations agents can’t stand Kirk.) And she is so focused on the well-being of these whales that neither travel in time nor space phase her.
1:38 – I noticed this the first time, too, but the relative sizes of this starship and the sun don’t seem very accurate. That’d be one big spaceship… (And the crew compliment is only, like, 11?)
1:41 – Are those electrical sparks in the water near the whales?
1:42 – And Kirk just rips conduits out of the wall to open the bay doors? Oh, they would all be electrocuted.
1:44 – [Dory] Pleeeeeeease stoooooooop huuuuurting thiiisssss plaaaaaaaanettt. [/Dory] 1:46 – And the probe leaves with not additional explanation. Okay.
1:48 – And now we’re back to the beginning and Kirk and the gang are facing their charges. Bet that won’t last long…
1:49 – Weeeeell, you saved the planet, so NBD. We’ll “demote” you to captain, which is what you wanted anyway.
1:50 – They’re all clapping. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be even one person a little annoyed. Yeah, they saved Earth, but they also broke a TON of laws and regulations! Not to mention the Temporal Prime Directive (that, yes I know, doesn’t exist yet). I mean, someone’s gotta be miffed, at least.
1:53 – D’awww, Spock and Sarek mended fences.
1:54 – And it’s a new Enterprise! (They sure built that ship fast!)
After Watching: I know that I give this film a lot more leeway than I have the others, but I admit to being biased. I have loved this movie for a long time, even if I always fast-forwarded (yeah, VHS tapes) to when the goofiness started. So much of it just makes my heart happy.
I would be nice if future Treks mentioned whales canonically every now and then (I think they might be referenced in the novels). You know, just have someone remark on seeing them in the bay when they visit Starfleet HQ? Quickly mention how beneficial it was that Kirk brought them back form the late 20th century? It’s possible this has happened and I’m just not remembering the details. If it did, that’s awesome.
Save the whales!
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About the Author
About the Project
Sue is a life-long Star Trek fan. Although she’d seen every single episode (most more than once) of TNG, DS9, Voyager and even Enterprise, she had never watched The Original Series before 2014. The TOS Project was conceived to correct that, and cover the original three seasons of the 1966 television series, the six feature films with the same cast, and the oft-forgotten Animated Series.